The Rogue Voice

A LITERARY JOURNAL WITH AN EDGE

March 01, 2008

Hold on, Code Pink!


Editor’s note: Each week we receive emails from a friend of Dell’s whose views on Iraq and the military lean so much to the right we usually just hit the delete button. But Ray forwarded the following “Open Letter” by Marine Corps Captain Richard Lund, responding to Code Pink’s protests against campus recruiting at U.C. Berkeley, and we decided to reprint Capt. Lund’s compelling challenge. The original letter was published in the October 10, 2007, edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet, and is apparently making the rounds in email forward schemes, as you can see below, which begins with a note from Alan.


“The Marines are a class organization. I respect the hell out of them. This letter confirms their noble character, integrity, courage and dedication to protect the rights of all of the citizens of our country. In stark contrast to Capt. Lund, the protesters in Berkeley reveal themselves to be emotionalist-subjectivist idiots. They are unappreciative and undeserving of the protection they receive from our military. How can they be a product of an esteemed institution of higher learning like U.C. Berkeley? There is something truly wrong with our educational system.
Alan”


An Open Letter to Code Pink

By Capt. Richard Lund



While the protest that you staged in front of my office on Wednesday, Sept. 26, was an exercise of your constitutional rights, the messages that you left behind were insulting, untrue, and ultimately misdirected. Additionally, from the comments quoted in the Berkeley Daily Planet article, it is clear that you have no idea what it is that I do here. Given that I was unaware of your planned protest, I was unable to contest your claims in person, so I will therefore address them here.
First, a little bit about who I am: I am a Marine captain with over eight years of service as a commissioned officer. I flew transport helicopters for most of my time in the Marine Corps before requesting orders to come here. Currently, I am the selection officer for the northern Bay Area. My job is to recruit, interview, screen, and evaluate college students and college graduates that show an interest in becoming officers in the Marine Corps. Once they’ve committed to pursuing this program, I help them apply, and if selected, I help them prepare for the rigors of Officer Candidate School and for the challenges of life as a Marine officer. To be eligible for my programs, you have to be either a full-time college student or a college graduate. I don’t pull anyone out of school, and high school students are not eligible.
I moved my office to Berkeley in December of last year. Previously, it was located in an old federal building in Alameda. That building was due to be torn down and I had to find a new location. I chose our new site because of its proximity to U.C. Berkeley and to the BART station. Most of the candidates in my program either go to Cal or to one of the schools in San Francisco, the East Bay, or the North Bay. Logistically, the Shattuck Square location was the most convenient for them.
Next, you claim that I lie. I have never, and will never, lie to any individual that shows an interest in my programs. I am upfront with everything that is involved at every step of the way and I go out of my way to ensure that they know what to expect when they apply. I tell them that this is not an easy path. I tell them that leading Marines requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. I tell them that, should they succeed in their quest to become a Marine officer, they will almost certainly go to Iraq. In the future, if you plan to attack my integrity, please have the courtesy to explain to me specifically the instances in which you think that I lied.
Next, scrawled across the doorway to my office, you wrote, “Recruiters are Traitors.” Please explain this one. How exactly am I a traitor? Was I a traitor when I joined the Marine Corps all those years ago? Is every Marine, therefore, a traitor? Was I a traitor during my two stints in Iraq? Was I a traitor when I was delivering humanitarian aid to the victims of the tsunami in Sumatra? Or do you only consider me a traitor while I am on this job? The fact is, recruitment is and always has been a part of maintaining any military organization. In fact, recruitment is a necessity of any large organization. Large corporations have employees that recruit full-time. Even you, I’m sure, must expend some effort to recruit for Code Pink. So what, exactly, is it that makes me a traitor? __
The fact is this: any independent nation must maintain a military (or be allied with those who do) to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. Regardless of what your opinions are of the current administration or the current conflict in Iraq, the U.S. military will be needed again in the future. If your counter-recruitment efforts are ultimately successful, who will defend us if we are directly attacked again as we were at Pearl Harbor? Who would respond if a future terrorist attack targets the Golden Gate Bridge, the BART system, or the U.C. Berkeley clock tower? And, to address the most hypocritical stance that your organization takes on its website, where would the peacekeeping force come from that you advocate sending to Darfur?__
Finally, I believe that your efforts in protesting my office are misdirected. I agree that your stated goals of peace and social justice are worthy ones. War is a terrible thing that should only be undertaken in the most dire, extreme and necessary circumstances. However, war is made by politicians. The conflict in Iraq was ordered by the president and authorized by Congress. They are the ones who have the power to change the policy in Iraq, not members of the military. We execute policy to the best of our ability and to the best of our human capacity. Protesting in front of my office may be an easy way to get your organization in the headlines of local papers, but it doesn’t further any of your stated goals.__
To conclude, I don’t consider myself a “recruiter.” I am a Marine who happens to be on recruiting duty. As such, I conduct myself in accordance with our core values of honor, courage, and commitment. I will never sacrifice my honor by lying to anyone who walks into my office. I will never forsake the courage that it takes to restrain myself in the face of insulting and libelous labels like liar and traitor. And, most importantly, I will never waver from my commitment to helping individuals who desire to serve their country as officers in the Marine Corps. §

Captain Richard Lund is the United States Marine Corps selection officer for the northern Bay Area.

5 Comments:

At 10:44 AM, Blogger The Rogue Voice said...

Sure, it's easy enough to criticize a bunch of college kids for a misguided act of protest. That works out perfectly for George W. Bush and his cronies, who this Marine and the gentleman who forwarded it fail to criticize, despite the fact that our "Commander-in-Chief" has far more to do with a decrease in recruiting and thinning of our military than anyone from Code Pinkever could. To recap: If you protest the Marines, you're protesting the wrong people. If you protest George W. Bush, you are a traitor and giving aid and comfort to the enemy. In other words, let's beat the war drums and everybody should just sit on their hands and cheer on the great leader. If our Defense Secretary says war crimes are A-OK, then we can't blame him, he knows what's best. If he says torture, then just torture and neither the commander nor the ones doing the torture can be criticized, since we don't just don't understand what is really necessary in this world. And if there's a little collateral damage during a war that never had a real purpose, then we can't blame whomever dropped the bombs and how did the Pentagon know that there would be collateral damage with their "prescision" bombs, anyway? And we should just support the troops by putting a little yellow ribbon magnet on our cars while they come back damaged or in body bags. And when you never tell a lie to your recruits, does that mean you tell them right out that the war you are sending them to has no purpose, that they very well might come back physically maimed or with PTSD and receive almost no support from the government that sent them there? Can you tell them, or tell me, what the point of this war is? I really do want to know. Can you tell me when it will end? Can you tell me how this war is protecting America? Can you tell me why every frickin' Marine isn't calling for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's head?
Can you just turn off the rah rah Marine cliches for a minute and have a real discussion about the situation on the ground? At this point, your blind loyalty is hurting the Marines. You are hurting the Marines.

Sincerely,
Steve (The Rogue Voice Blog Guy)

 
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